Materials Research Science and Engineering Center


Date of this Version



Published in Mater. Res. Soc. Symp. Proc. Vol. 845. Copyright © 2005 Materials Research Society. Used by permission.


Magnetic nanoparticle fluids have numerous biomedical applications, including magnetic imaging, drug delivery, and hyperthermia treatment for cancer. Ideal magnetic nanoparticle fluids have well-separated, biocompatible nanoparticles with a small size distribution that form a stable colloid. We have combined inert-gas condensation, which produces nanoparticles with low polydispersity, with deposition directly into a surfactant-laden fluid to prevent agglomeration. Iron, cobalt, and iron-nitride nanoparticle fluids fabricated using inert-gas condensation have with mean particle sizes from 5-50 nm and remain stable over long periods of time. Iron and cobalt nanoparticles oxidize on exposure to air, with oxidation rates dependent on surfactant type and concentration. Iron-nitride fluids are more oxidation and corrosion resistant, while retaining the same high degree of colloidal stability. Magnetic properties vary depending on the nanoparticle size and material, but can be varied from superparamagnetic to ferromagnetic with coercivities on the order of 1000 Oe. In addition to future biomedical applications, inertgas condensation into fluids offers the opportunity to study interparticle interactions over a broad range of intrinsic materials parameters and interparticle separations.